$2.5m investment to qualify for long-term residency
Non-Bermudians will be able to become long-term residents if they invest a minimum of $2.5 million in the country, the Labour Minister announced yesterday.
Jason Hayward unveiled the new economic investment certificate policy yesterday which will come into force from March 1.
The investment can include real estate, Bermuda Government bonds, a contribution to the island’s sinking fund for debt reduction or the Bermuda Trust Fund, as well as charity.
But the new deal came under fire from the Opposition.
Jarion Richardson, the shadow labour minister, said long term residents who had already invested much of their lives in the island had been left out in the cold.
Mr Hayward said investors could also contribute to an existing business, launch new businesses, or “invest in such other social or useful venture that benefits Bermuda, Bermudians and things Bermudian as may be determined by the minister”.
He told MPs that investors would be able to apply for a residential certificate, which would give additional rights, after five years.
MPs heard that “affluent individuals from around the world” wanted to live in places meeting criteria such as safety, rule of law, and “a place where they feel comfortable with their children”.
Mr Hayward said: “These individuals and their families have the means to make significant financial investments, develop businesses, and create job opportunities, which can benefit Bermudians.
“Bermuda must take advantage of these opportunities.”
Mr Hayward added the change was an improvement on the 2015 residential certificate policy and earlier legislation, where the target audience was the “globally retired” – who were barred from obtaining employment and had to come to the island with “substantial means”.
He told MPs that 100 people given the Economic Investment Certificate over the next 10 years would pump “$250 million into the economy and facilitate continued economic activity for years to come”.
Mr Hayward said a $2,625 fee would be charged for the certificate.
He added: “The Government has established a concierge service to facilitate the submission and approval process, as appropriate for the affluent investors targeted.”
The immigration department will link with the Government’s concierge and the Bermuda Business Development Agency to offer a “high touch service” to investors.
Mr Hayward said: “I look forward to all of Bermuda welcoming those persons who will be granted an Economic Investment Certificate and a Residential Certificate in the coming months.”
A policy document online on the Government’s website said eligibility included “an upfront investment in the Bermuda economy”.
Successful applicants would receive an Economic Investment Certificate for five years.
The holder can work in any business they have invested in, and their spouse and dependents will be able to live on the island.
An investment has to be “maintained at a minimum threshold value” of $2.5 million for at least five years.
The EIC holder can apply for a residential certificate to live indefinitely on the island after five years.
A non-Bermudian is classed as a restricted person under immigration law and must apply for a licence to buy property.
Residential certificate holders would not get the right to vote in Bermuda.
Mr Richardson said the Economic Investment Certificate highlighted the unfairness of Bermuda’s immigration policy.
He said: “Today in the House of Assembly, the One Bermuda Alliance found out that for a non-Bermudian, if you have $2.5 million in cash today and invest it in Bermuda, you can come to Bermuda and stay here.
“However, if you are already here, having invested your labour, purchasing services, building a life and so on over a period of time, then you are not welcome to stay.
“Certainly not in comparison to the person with $2.5 million.”
Mr Richardson added: “By making residence purchasable like a cell phone or a car, we cheapen membership in our tight-knit community.”